What internet choices do you have?
Your company’s success depends on your broadband connection, so lay out what you need before looking at the options. It’s like buying a car: It’s confusing unless you layout your priorities before speaking to a salesperson. Decide how many devices will be using your internet connection, what activities you plan to do online, and how crucial upload and download speeds are: Only then are you able to make a rational decision regarding the service you require.
Fast, cheap, reliable – You can’t have it all.
Broadband cost is clearly a consideration, but if you pay cheap, you get cheap.
Cheap broadband won’t cut it for a business. You pay less because your internet service provider (ISP) spends less to provide your connection.
Cheap domestic broadband has been engineered down to the minimum acceptable service that domestic users will accept:
- Your line will be shared with around fifty other premises (a high contention ratio)– This means your speeds will fall away dramatically at peak times because everyone else is downloading movies to watch or updating their social media accounts.
- Your upload speed will be much lower than your download speed (asynchronous) – A high upload speed is essential for video conferencing, VOIP calls, and fast backups of your data.
- Faults will take days to fix because the service level agreement (SLA) is so poor–Your internet connection’s reliability is a low priority for your ISP because you are showing it’s a low priority for you. If it was important, then you would be prepared to pay more for a better SLA.
What works for home users is unacceptable for a business that depends on the internet for its very existence.
As a business, you acknowledge that you will need to pay more to get a fast and reliable service.
Broadband Options for Businesses
We’ll forget about domestic broadband because it is not designed for business use, so it is slow and unreliable.
Most ISPs offer “Business broadband”. You get a lower contention ratio, slightly higher upload & download speed, and faster response when things go wrong.
The crunch issue is that shared line again. Even if you are “only” sharing your fiber connection with ten to twenty other premises, your business can only fully function when nobody else sharing your line is using the internet.
No cable sharing here, but every mobile network has limited capacity. When school students finish for the day and start chatting on Instagram or Twitter, your connection dries up to the speed of a slug in the Sahara Desert.
Peak time network overcrowding will destroy your business if you decide to use 4G (or even 5G) for your broadband needs.
If you can see the sky, you will have satellite broadband reception. However, there are many problems:
- Inadequate bandwidth
- Slow speeds
- Terrible response times (latency)
- Unreliable in poor weather
- Poor SLAs
Don’t go there.
Leased line broadband comes with a higher monthly contract fee than any of the other options here, but it does the job.
You get an optical fiber line all to yourself. Even if you have twenty employees working away online simultaneously, nobody’s connection is going to die.
Your upload and download speeds are the same (Synchronous connection). You can have video chat without embarrassing image or speech freezing.
You can specify how fast you want your leased line to be from 10Mb/s to 1000Mb/s. Faster connections cost more but may be worthwhile if you have scores of employees all needing an internet connection.
The only problem with leased lines is limited availability. Outside large cities and towns, you may be unable to get a leased line because the cables have not been laid yet.
Does your company’s existence depend on your Internet connection?
You can never get fast, reliable, and cheap broadband. Those three factors are incompatible. Low cost may be desirable, but a fast and reliable connection 24/7/365 is crucial for any business. You will need to compromise on cost.
You will have to pay more to get high-quality broadband that is essential for most businesses. If leased lines are available, then that is the best option.